Harvest 2014 was notable for the excellent quality of fruit produced thanks to a season that was warm and dry for Nelson. Excellent concentration of flavours and ripeness levels were reached several weeks earlier than expected, resulting in an early start to harvesting in the second week of March. Fortuitously this meant that when more than 200mm of rain hit the upper North Island mid-April our fruit was now juice, happily fermenting in the winery.
Five separate parcels of Pinot Gris were chosen for this wine, all from our Estate vineyards on the Waimea plains. They ere harvested in a tight window of four days just as March slipped away from us. Four parcels were machine harvested, the contact time of juice and skins promoting flavour extraction in this sometimes overly subtle variety. Machined very early morning (though not popular with the crew) means the fruit is processed icy cold, preserving aromatics and minimising phenolic pick up. The fifth parcel was hand picked and whole bunch pressed resulting in a very delicate juice with a very different aroma profile. Early press cuts were made for the machined fruit and pressing fractions treated separately. After three days cold settling to obtain a clarified juice each juice was racked off solids and the flavoursome pressing portions returned back to their original juice. A selection of yeast were chosen for their ability to enhance body, texture and varietal aromas in the finished wine. Moderately cool ferments were employed in stainless steel tanks preserving freshness and fruit expression. Each of the five ferments were arrested with varying degrees of residual sugar. Each wine carefully assessed to determine it's 'sweet spot' and overall balance while still considering how it would marry with the other components. The wines were then aged on fine lees for several months to further enhance texture and richness on the palate. The most harmonious blend of these components was then debated and decided upon and the wine blended and prepared for bottling on the 1st of August.